Media Releases | 18th Feb, 2013

Mining boom hurting Geelong, says economist

Mining boom hurting Geelong, says economist

Monday, 18 February 2013

The rapid expansion of the mining industry over the past decade has done more harm than good to Geelong’s economy, according to new analysis by The Australia Institute, one of Australia’s most respected think-tanks.

Matt Grudnoff, senior economist at The Australia Institute, said the analysis shows the true impact of the mining boom on the Geelong region. Mr Grudnoff will address a public meeting in Geelong tonight.

“The mining boom is transforming Australia. While it is creating some jobs in mining centres, the high dollar and the drain of skilled labour from other industries is devastating big employers like tourism, agriculture and manufacturing. For cities like Geelong, that means the mining boom delivers a lot more pain than gain,” said Mr Grudnoff.

“High exchange rates make Australian cars, Australian food and Australian tourism destinations a lot more expensive in the world market. The problem is made even worse by the fact that the miners prefer to poach skilled staff from other industries rather than train their own.”

Mr Grudnoff will present his findings at a public meeting in the Geelong West Town Hall on Monday night alongside environment and trade union groups, as part of the Sustainable Living Festival. 

Geelong and Regional Trades and Labour Council Secretary Tim Gooden echoed Mr Grudnoff’s comments, saying that a lot of manufacturing businesses in Geelong were already suffering the impacts of the mining boom.

“With so many Geelong businesses closing and workers being sacked or made redundant in the last two years, it’s not hard to see that the mining boom hasn’t delivered the same benefits to everybody, especially here in Geelong.”

Mark Wakeham, Campaigns Director at Environment Victoria, said today that the research casts doubt on the Baillieu Government’s plans to massively expand the brown coal mining and export industry in Victoria.

“Despite the mounting evidence that the mining boom has caused many Victorians a lot of pain, the Victorian government is now chasing its own mining boom with a proposal to allocate billions of tonnes of polluting brown coal for mining and export,” said Mr Wakeham.

“If the Baillieu Government was serious about supporting Geelong’s iconic manufacturing industry, reducing pressure on reverse mortgage interest rates and averting environmental catastrophe, they would reconsider their plans to turn regional Victoria into the Pilbara, and begin to chart a course for a more sustainable economy.”

The meeting will be held at 6.00pm on Monday 18 February, at the Geelong West Town Hall Supper Room (153 Pakington St Geelong West). Entry to the event is free and open to all.

For comment

Mr Matt Grudnoff, Senior Economist, The Australia Institute    0402 483 782

Tim Gooden, Secretary, Geelong and Region Trades and Labour Council    0438 088 112

Mark Wakeham, Campaigns Director, Environment Victoria    0439 700 501

To RSVP to the event, register here or call 9341 8100.